Nottingham Knights squad: Fiona Hale (GS), Clair Corlett (GA), Katie Cresswell (WA), Daniella Gatt (C), Samantha Carter (WD), Justine Drury (GD), Zoie Aiken (GK), Beth Moore (Sub), Karen Cresswell (Coach).
Nottingham Knights had had a successful first half of the season which saw them hold third position in the league table. They were determined not to let fourth-placed Bluetits steal their spot but Bluetits had beaten Nottingham Knights during their first encounter earlier on in the season.
The teams were well-matched during the first half and it was difficult to predict who would be victorious. Both teams fought hard, displaying solid defensive play and producing a number of interceptions and turnovers. Bluetits switched to “man-on marking” when their zoning defence was broken down by Knights, which meant that Knights also had to adapt. The score for each of the first two quarters was 11-10 in Knights’ favour, meaning the Nottingham team took a two-goal lead into half time.
Knights made one change at the break – Moore coming on for Cresswell at Wing Attack (WA) – and when the second half began, the Nottingham team came storming out. They demonstrated consistent, patient netball. Their aim was to score from their own centre passes whilst also working hard to win the ball back when Bluetits made an interception. Knights delivered accurate passes from the defensive backline all the way down the court and waited for space in the circle before passing the ball in and converting the goal. Meanwhile Gatt (C) and Carter (WD) worked well at preventing the Bluetits’ feeds making it to the attacking circle. The overall team display mean the Knights won the quarter 10-5, bringing the overall score to 32-25.
Bluetits made some changes for the final quarter and returned to court determined not to give up the game without a fight. They found a way to penetrate the Knights defence, which resulted in the Leicestershire team making this their highest scoring quarter of the match. Furthermore, as the end of the game approached, Bluetits had levelled the score. However, with the game finely poised, Knights’ Corlett (GA) made a crucial interception from a Bluetits’ centre pass to turn the ball over for the Nottingham team. Corlett then made it back into the circle to receive the ball on the left side of the net to score the decisive goal which put the Knights ahead. The Knights managed to maintain their lead in the nail-biting closing minutes to win the game 38-37.
Well done to Knights Centre Daniella Gatt for winning ‘Player of the Match’ and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Beth Moore who injured her ankle during the game.